Fansplaining: Trash Ships and Fandom IRL

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Podcast Episode
First Episode · Episode #21 · Last Episode
Episode Title: Fansplaining: Trash Ships and Fandom IRL
Featured: DestinationToast
Date: May 4, 2016
External Links: podcast; transcript; notes

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Fansplaining: Trash Ships and Fandom IRL is a podcast by Flourish Klink and Elizabeth Minkel.

For others in the series, see Fansplaining.


"In Episode 21, “Trash Ships and Fandom IRL,” Flourish and Elizabeth split the episode between two different topics. First they talk to Fansplaining regular DestinationToast about her recent Star Wars shipping statistical analysis (during which Flourish declares herself Captain Of The Garbage Scow). Then they talk to Alexa Donne of Leviosa about the task of running a fan convention, including the importance of accountants, market realities, and how much the Harry Potter community loves to drink."

Topics Discussed


FK: OK, so the stats in question were about the relative popularity of different ships in Star Wars over time, right? DT: Yes. I mostly, I started out look at, OK, is Star Wars actually really popular? It is. I only compared it to other fandoms on AO3, but Tumblr’s Fandometrics also says that it’s been incredibly popular on Tumblr. So I feel pretty safe in saying: super popular, but then most of the other questions that people had were about which ships were popular, because everyone’s seeing different ships on their dash depending on who they follow. So some people are like “oh, it’s all Reylo!” Rey and Kylo Ren. And some people are, “it’s all Stormpilot!” Finn and Poe. And some people said “it’s just all Kylux at this point!” Kylo Ren and Hux. And this was where I thought it was funny that we all had such different experiences and went off to try and figure out what was going on with the ships.

DT: Data! Yay! We saw a really interesting pattern that I haven’t seen before when looking at shipping development in other fandoms, where in AO3 in particular Stormpilot had this huge surge of popularity right at the beginning and then dropped off pretty substantially and abruptly, like a month later. I caveat this by saying it’s still one of the most popular ships right now, because Star Wars is so huge and it didn’t go away as a ship, but it’s way less popular than it was right at first.

ELM: It was really—I was just thinking today because someone tagged me in other data charts, and I was like “I don’t know how to read this,” but I’m seeing them and, oh, I know how to read that. It was plummeting. It just dropped.


DT: When it was Godzilla, it plummeted down from producing over 250 works per week to being maybe a third of that or something more recently. So it’s just this really amazing meteoric rise and then drop off that is unusual from what I have seen with ships, that combo.

So Kylo Ren and Hux, that combo, has risen on AO3 much more slowly, but has surpassed—I mean, “slowly,” this is all pretty recent, right? But still—rose a lot more slowly at first but it surpassed Stormpilot to be right now the most active ship on AO3.

FK: Whaaaaat.

DT: I know! The relative popularity of Reylo actually varies more depending on the platform.

ELM: Because AO3 is more likely to be slash-heavy?

DT: AO3 is slash-heavy, yeah. So Kylux is most popular there, and Reylo also kind of had an earlier rise but has leveled out around the same as—Pin Foe? No. Where Finn/Poe is now at. But on Tumblr, Reylo is maybe the most popular, or maybe tied with Kylux. And on Tumblr I was only looking at the most popular tag for each one. I wish Tumblr had tag wranglers but they don’t; I tried to do a sanity check that this didn’t disproportionately hurt Stormpilot because of the different tags for it, and it doesn’t seem like it changes the results a ton. But, it is hard to say, “oh, Reylo’s definitely the most active right now,” or anything like that.

FK: [...] Kylux has risen; Reylo, more popular in places that are not AO3 in comparison to the AO3; still, very popular. Peaked earlier on AO3 than elsewhere but has nevertheless become very popular. So at this point, Finn/Poe and Kylux and Reylo, all about the same popularity? In a macro sense?

DT: At this particular point, about the same popularity, I would say that on AO3 Kylux is way more popular than the other two and on Tumblr Stormpilot is way less popular than the other two relatively speaking. A couple other quick takeaways that jumped out at me, on there’s lots of het ships that are way more popular than slash ships, like Anakin and Padmé has got a ton of works, next most popular after Reylo. So, it’s different about

Also, Jedi Stormpilot! My OT3 in this fandom to the extent that I am a member—


DT: Finn, Poe and Rey together are actually doing amazingly well for a poly ship, and just popular, quite popular overall. They’re equalling Han and Leia, which is a canon het ship, in their production, pretty much.

FK: A beloved canon het ship!